Money Money Money: The World’s Richest Companies

While the world still recovers from a global financial crisis, there are some companies who have not only managed to stay afloat, but continued growing like nothing’s changed. These companies attract much of the world’s contempt and awe, as some protest against the greed and accumulation of wealth around a selective minority, while others marvel at the potential of capitalism. Either way, there’s no denying the success of these companies and, for better or worse, these five have captured our attention…

ExxonMobil

Forbes ranks ExxonMobil as the largest company in the world. This isn’t surprising given that it has 37 oil refineries in 21 countries and can refine a combined 6.3 million barrels a day. Their growth was in the double digits and has earned it the title of the largest petroleum refiner in the world. Their sheer size and wealth can determine the fate of entire nations, something that attracts much contention and loathing.

JPMorgan Chase

Perhaps the only thing hated more than oil refining companies are banks, and with JPMorgan Chase claiming the title of the largest bank in the world, it’s fair to say they attract a fair amount of loathing themselves. But with a company worth over $2.3 trillion, it’s doubtful that they care very much. Usually recognised as the world’s largest company, it was supplanted as the largest by ExxonMobil in 2012.

General Electric

With infrastructure spending on the rise, it’s not difficult to see why this conglomerate has been able to expand so much in recent years. It expanded its backlog to a record level of $200 billion, and it looks to just keep on growing.

Royal Dutch Shell

The first non-American company to appear on the Forbes 2012 ranking, Shell is yet another Oil and Gas refiner competing for the top spot. And it succeeds as far as sales are concerned. With a growth in sales of 28%, it claims the top rank in sales growth. It operates in over 80 countries and produces 3.2 million barrels of oil a day.

ICBC

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest company in the Asia-Pacific region. With China’s astounding growth in recent years, it’s obvious that their companies and banks now rival those of Europe and the US. It’s jumped two spots in the last year, and has the potential to keep moving up the rankings with the way things are looking.

HSBC

The U.K. bank just manages to squeeze into the top 5 largest companies in the world. It has employed a three-year strategy to help reshape the group, positioning themselves on the path to growth. So far, so good, it seems, because in 2012, it achieved a record year in banking.

These companies are at the top of the world’s leader board. And while they top banks, accounting firms, law firms, real estate companies and every other sort of company out there, the current market has proven to be unpredictable, and this might all soon change.

Linda Campbell is a freelance writer who, while critical of the world’s largest companies, can’t help but be impressed by them. One day she’ll purchase commercial property for lease and start her own million-dollar company.

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